The most recent episode of “Outlander,” entitled “Freedom and Whisky,” represents a turning point in the story of the two lovers separated by time, Claire, a 20Th Century woman, and Jamie, a 18Th Century man. Without delving into too many spoilers for the episode, Claire is given some information that suggests that she could go back in time to rejoin her beloved Jamie. However, she starts to have doubts? They have been 20 years apart in both of their timelines. Will he still love her? Has she grown too old and unattractive? Then a singular event in world history gives Claire the courage to make another leap into the unknown.

What happened in December 1968?

Most people who were alive fifty years ago know where they were when men first landed on the moon. However, many people had all but forgotten the mission to the moon that happened before Apollo 11, Apollo 8, the first manned (and they referred to it at the time) expedition beyond low Earth orbit. The mission of Apollo 8 is the event that sets Claire back on her path to the 18th Century and her beloved Jamie.

The crucial scene takes place at a lounge at the hospital where Claire works. Doctors and nurses are gathered around a television and are watching the iconic Christmas Eve broadcast in which the crew of Apollo 8 read from the Book of Genesis while the Earth rose over the lunar surface.

One can just imagine the thoughts that are going through Claire’s brain as she watched, enraptured, at one of the most magnificent sights in human history. Later, she looks outside at the moon, knowing that three men are in a tiny spacecraft orbiting Earth’s nearest neighbor. If those men could risk all to leap into the unknown, how could she not make her own journey to get back to her heart’s desire?

One proof Claire really loves Jamie

In December 1968 people pretty much knew that the first attempt at a moon landing would take place in the summer of 1969. One would have forgiven Claire if she had delayed her journey back to the past to witness the 20th Century’s most significant achievement. However, so eager was she to get back together with Jamie, it appears that Claire decided to forego leaving the 20th Century on one of its highest notes.

One suspects that the window of opportunity, considering the hazards Jamie endured since Culloden that the risk was likely too great.

The idea of Jamie taking a trip to the 20th Century was not in the books. However, one wonders how he would make a brief vacation to Claire’s era, just in time to see the first footstep on another world.